A traffic snarl caused by Assemblyman Reginald W. Atkins has angered residents and former elected officials who are calling out the politician for his arrogance after he shut down municipal roads for the grand opening of his new office.
“Please explain to me the genius of the 20th district legislators closing down 1st Avenue in Roselle between Chestnut and Walnut from 3pm to 8pm.to have a grand opening of yet another Legislative Office paid for by taxpayers and using Roselle’s DPW employees to set up chairs etc.with the Bridge closed during peak rush hour,” said former Mayor Christine Dansereau. “I can only imagine the inconvenience to the Roselle community. Not to mention the need for additional public safety.”
“Assemblyman Atkins asked the county to shut down First Avenue between Walnut and Chestnut Street so that he could have the grand opening of his new legislative office in teh building that he shares with Zoom Drain Plumbing,” said former Roselle Councilwoman Sylvia Turnage.
“When Councilwomen Denise Wilkerson and Cindy Thomas along with Mayor Donald Shaw come knocking at your door this weekend asking for your vote, ask them why they shut a major thoroughfare down during rush hour,” said Turnage.
The traffic obstruction caught borough Police off guard, so they threw up hasty messages on social media but the scene was apparently left without posted detours and the other typical preparations made when there is a road closure.
Atkins is a former Board of Education member and councilman who was appointed to serve briefly as Roselle’s interim mayor after Danserau resigned in 2020. He was elected to the state Legislature when party bosses put him on a ticket that vanquished Jamel Holley in favor of Senator Joseph Cryan.
Holley scored 1130 ballots in Roselle, where Cryan got only 758 votes, but in the remaining parts of the district, the political establishment backed candidate trounced the borough’s favorite son by a margin of 7046 to 3046.
Atkins’ betrayal of parochial concerns earned him a good deal of antipathy from local residents but closing the road in front of his office is being panned as an arrogant stunt.
Several residents said it reminded tham of the September 2013 closure of the George Washington Bridge access lanes in Fort Lee, executed by Gov. Chris Christie’s Republican dirty trickster, David Wildstein, who not operates a blog that seems to favor the Democratic political establishment in Union County.
“This is the epitome of senselessness!!,” said Turnage. “Not only do you shut down a major road in the middle of rush hour, but you create a major traffic hazard!”
Turnage noted that the Gordon Street bridge is closed and many people use the Walnut Street bridge to get to the Parkway and other destinations.
There was a clear consensus that is made no sense to shut down the entire street for an event that could have taken place inside the building.
“These elected officials think they are better then the people they represent,” said one frustrated citizen.